The County Sheriff’s Department Gets New Motorcycles

On September 8, 1915, Salt Lake County Sheriff Corless sent a petition to the County Commission requesting $525 to purchase two motorcycles. His plan was to use one in the “most extensive territory” of Garfield and the other at his headquarters for long journeys. The model requested was a 3-speed twin cylinder 1916 Indian. He supported the request by stating that the purchase would eliminate the need to purchase $25 worth of horse feed each month.  A few days later the Commission approved the request although the minutes show an approval for 1915 model bikes. It is not known if the difference in model year was an error or a decision to purchase the current model motorcycle. The sheriff would later request a sidecar for one of the Indians on May 22, 1916, which was also approved by the commission.

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Prior to the petition only the gas receipts of one deputy, Ed Larson, show up in department records. Beginning in June of 1916 the more frequent receipts of another deputy, Lee Williamson, begin to appear. One of his first receipts is for oil leading to the possibility that Deputy Williamson was assigned one of the new Indian motorcycles. 

Use of Indian motorcycles by county officers predates these records. An advertisement with an accompanying photo in the Salt Lake Tribune from April 4, 1919 titled Salt Lake County Motor Cops and Their New Indians notes that the first Indian models were purchased in 1912. The ad also points out that Deputy Larson (pictured along with a Deputy Turnbow) was now on his fourth Indian motorcycle, his first being a 1912 model that he rode until 1915. He also received new bikes in 1915 and 1917, both of which he rode over 30,000 miles in two years. 

Sources

Salt Lake County Commission Minutes, Book S (1/4/1915-3/1/1916), Box 27, CM-002.  Salt Lake County Archives.

Salt Lake County Commission Minutes, Book T (3/3/1916-6/28/1918), Box 28, CM-002. Salt Lake County Archives.

Salt Lake County Sheriff Contingency Fund Receipt Reports(1900-1922), SH-311. Salt Lake County Archives.

Salt Lake Tribune April 4, 1919; Salt Lake County Motor Cops and Their New Indians. 

 ~Entry contributed by Vincent Fazzi, Salt Lake County Reference Archivist

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